Make Your Own Budget Event

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Serbian Health Ministry has got the largest amount from the state coffer – 12.73 per cent – during a street event aimed to include citizens in the process of planning the Serbian budget by giving them a chance to show which sectors they consider as priorities in planning public expenditures.

The event, which gathered some 226 citizens in front of the Terazije fountain in Belgrade on May 15th, was organised by BIRN Serbia and its partner organisation Pro Concept as part of the “Skockajte Budzet” campaign.

Citizens were constructing the budget of 656 billion dinars, which is the total ammount of the state budget for 2010, by placing money in 25 boxes (symbolizing the number of ministries).

The Health Ministry is followed by Ministry of Education which got 10.5 per cent and Ministry of Science – 9.94 per cent whereas the lowest amount from the state coffer has been given to the Minister without Portfolio, Ministry for Diaspora and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.

This informal public pulse palpation has shown that the government and citizens who have been filling the state coffers, have different views on what the budget priorities are. Those who have participated in the action were admitted to not simply make a decision on the allocation of resources.

“With this action we want to draw attention to the government’s obligation to involve citizens in the budgeting process, but also to remind people how important it is to require from government to be asked about the spending priorities,” Director of ProConcept Danko Cosic said.

“Skockajte budzet” campaign is part of the larger project “Eye on Public Finances” which was launched in late 2009 by BIRN Serbia and Pro Concept. The aim of the programme is to broaden the understanding and discussion on budget issues among MPs, NA staff, media representatives and CSO’s, as well as to increase the public demand for transparency and accountability.